German Shepherd that protected family deemed vicious by judge, ordered to be killed

Sinn Fein

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Aug 29, 2002
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#1
I know for a fact that if the same kind of shit went down here, my dogs would do the exact same thing. But it wouldn't, because I wouldn't have non-English-speaking ILLEGALS on my property.

Dog's fate devastates family

Judge orders shepherd destroyed after vicious attack
Thursday, November 08, 2007
BY LINDA STEIN
PRINCETON TOWNSHIP -- A family whose beloved German shepherd faces death for having led a dog attack on a landscaper is devastated by the news but vows to continue to fight to save him.

"He needs to come home," said Guy James, the Princeton homeowner who managed to call his dogs off the landscaper, but only after the worker was severely mauled in the June 5 attack.

"He's innocent. He did nothing more than protect my wife. He never bit anyone until she was grabbed and pulled to the ground," James said.

Congo has been ruled vicious by a municipal judge and ordered put down.

"As a family, it's destroyed our way of living," said James, 46. "We're just consumed with the whole thing."

The landscaper, Giovanni Rivera, has won a $250,000 insurance settlement as a result of serious injuries he sustained in the attack, which occurred when he and others disobeyed instructions from James not to get out of their car until Congo and several other dogs on the property could be sequestered for safety.

Rivera, a Trenton man, was on the 10-acre, fenced property on Stuart Road to do yard work. The landscaping crew had arrived before 7 a.m., about an hour before they were expected.

James, who was about to take a shower, called out a window to them in Spanish, telling them to get back in their car and wait because the dogs were in the backyard being fed.


While the dogs, two 2 1/2-year-old German shepherds and their four 6-month-old puppies, had not had problems with people on the property before, James said in an interview that he didn't want them to interfere with the workers. Also, he wanted the workers to wait until he was dressed so that he could tell them what to do, he said.

Instead, Rivera and another worker got out of the car after a few minutes and the dogs began to bark. That worker began to hit the dogs with a metal rake and Elizabeth James, Guy James' wife, yelled for him to stop. Meanwhile, Rivera, who was afraid of the dogs, grabbed her from behind and pulled her to the ground, causing her to scream. At that point Congo began to bite and scratch Rivera and some of the puppies joined in.

"The whole thing was pretty terrifying," Elizabeth James said. "You can't imagine. I was scared. It happened extremely fast. I didn't have time to think."

Meanwhile, her 8-year-old son, Ben, ran into the house to get his father. Moments later, Guy James hurried out and called off the dogs.

Rivera, who was treated for bites at a local hospital, settled with the couple's insurance carrier for the $250,000, Guy James said.

Rivera's lawyer, Kevin Riechelson, said his client has scars from the dog bites and scratches that may be permanent on his arms, legs and torso. Rivera still suffers from numbness in his leg but is able to walk.

"He had a really deep wound on his right thigh," Riechelson said. "Luckily, his face wasn't touched."

In addition to the $250,000 settlement, the Jameses' insurer agreed to pay medical bills and worker's compensation claims for Rivera, Riechelson said.

The Jameses' children, especially Ben who witnessed the attack, have been "crying nonstop," Elizabeth James said. "They've been on an emotional rollercoaster." Their dog has been placed in a shelter while the court process plays out.

Hannah James, 11, wrote a letter to Judge Russell Annich Jr. saying in part, "I am so upset seeing my dog locked up in jail for doing his job. When my friends are over they play with and around Congo and have no problems. I want you to know that this is coming from my heart and I mean it with all my heart and soul. Actually, my broken heart. We will never ever forget this for the rest of our lives. You have made the wrong decision in my eyes."

And Congo, who is being held at Save a Friend of Homeless Animals, is depressed and anxious, Guy James said. He now has to be hand-fed or he will not eat.

Meanwhile, James' lawyer, Robert Lytle, argued at a hearing in Municipal Court that the attack had been provoked and under New Jersey law, the dogs had a right to protect themselves and their owner.

But some, including municipal prosecutor Kim Otis, argue that the Jameses should have had control over the dogs and were negligent.

Indeed, Judge Annich found that "the prevailing circumstances did not constitute provocation and that the attack upon Mr. Rivera, initiated by Congo and subsequently by the other dogs present, continuing unabated for three minutes, was a response grossly disproportionate to the prevailing situation."

Guy James pointed to testimony from dog behavior expert and University of Pennsylvania professor Ilana Reisner, who said that in her professional opinion James' dogs were "clearly provoked."

"Based on these threats (unfamiliar individuals, perceived threatening position, the attack on the puppies with a metal rake, grabbing the owner from behind and pulling to the ground) the dogs were compelled to defend themselves and their owner," Reisner wrote.

"I am so sorry for what happened but it was not out of viciousness," Guy James said. "This was a provoked attack and any dog would protect its owner in the same manner. I can't imagine that any dog -- who was beat with a rake, hard enough to cause bloody gashes, and then had its owner grabbed from behind -- would walk away without action."

Guy James also garnered statements from several people who had been on his property and attested to the dogs' friendly behavior, including John Pettenati, the township building inspector. In fact Pettenati nicknamed them "the happy dogs" because they were so pleasant.

Guy James said that while he and his family were waiting for their house to be finished they lived for several months at a hotel. During that time Congo and his mate, Lucia, interacted with maids and others and never caused a problem, he said.

James also sent Congo and Lucia to the American Dog School in Denver for obedience training. James stressed that the dogs were trained for obedience, not as guard dogs. The four puppies are currently at that school, he said. Five of their siblings were adopted and one of those dogs is being trained to be a police dog in Pennsylvania, Guy James said.

Meanwhile, an article in The Times and reports in other media outlets have spurred the public into action on Congo's behalf.

Kat McAfee of the Coalition for Action in the Interests of Animals has organized the Coalition to Free Congo. She expects hundreds to come to a rally Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the municipal building at 400 Witherspoon St. in Princeton.

McAfee said they hope to save Congo's life by "bringing pressure on the powers that be."

Annich is expected to place his ruling on the record Tuesday afternoon.

For his part, Guy James said he has received thousands of letters and e-mails and thanked those who have offered their support.

"Congo is a fantastic family pet who is loved by everyone we know and many we don't," James said. "We will not let this rest for the sake of all dogs and their owners, and most of all, our family and Congo."

Guy James plans to appeal Annich's ruling to Superior Court.

"We will fight with all our love and support from friends and strangers until he is back with us," he said.
A few more more-recent articles:

Protesters rally for Congo

Judge upholds death sentence of Congo the dog


Here's a blog article about it:

Free Congo!

Posted by Fausta Wertz November 11, 2007 4:18PM
Categories: Family & kids
I went to the supermarket yesterday and came across a kid handing out fliers that read, SAVE CONGO!

Come join our demonstration protesting the execution of Congo, a loveable and non-agressive male German shepherd
I asked the kid what it was about. He told me that his dog was going to be put to death for protecting the kid's mom.

Here in The Principality when one hears of this sort of thing, one knows that of course it's going to lead to more local government ordinances and yet another expensive public building project. It turns out I was right.

The James family was at McCaffrey's supermarket handing out the flyers in an attempt to save their dog's life.

The Trentonian has a lengthy article detailing the story of how Congo got a death sentence, but to make a long story short, a landscaper showed up an hour earlier than expected and went into the yard against the expressed wishes of the homeowner. The puppies approached the other man (an undocumented worker) in the landscaper's crew, who hit the puppies with a rake. The landscaper grabbed the lady of the house, who fell on the ground, and when Congo saw all this, Congo bit the landscaper.

The landscaper was awarded an insurance settlement of $250.000, Congo's on death row, and now the Jameses are trying to save their dog.

I talked to Mr. James's brother, who is also upset that the local Animal Warden was quoted in the Trentonian saying that "he believes the family may have intentionally wounded one of the pups to make it look in worse shape than it was."

Meanwhile, the prosecutor told the Packet that family could have saved Congo by taking plea deal by agreeing to have their dog labeled as "potentially dangerous". The other four German shepherds the Jameses own have received that label, which according to the Packet, "comes with a $700 annual licensing fee and certain requirements about the dogs' containment".

Mr.and Mrs. James have appealed the judge's decision, and there's going to be a rally on Tuesday at 400 Witherspoon Street (outside Princeton Township Municipal Court) from 10AM to 2PM.

Regardless of Congo's fate, the local authorities are not missing an opportunity to bring on even more regulation and more public spending. There's a dangerous dog registry in the works (along the lines of Megan's Law), along with - you guessed it - a new dog park to be built at taxpayers' expense.

Because here in the Princetons there's always a reason for more public spending. And that's no "man-bites-dog" story.
It's not over yet. They are appealing to Superior Court and lots of people are bugging the shit out of Governor Corzine to get involved. The Jersey Guys from 101.5 are involved in this. Say what you want about them, but I've found myself in agreement with their position on alot of things they get involved in...
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
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#2
not only would i have NEVER paid them i would have had them charged with assault and battery on my wife, there immigration status questioned and sued them for beating my dogs and trespassing.

my dogs are also trained to "hold" an attacker, so i can fucking shoot them when i see fit, and throwing my wife to the ground and "damaging my property" (beating my dogs) constitutes a shoot able offense in my book
 

Sinn Fein

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#3
I hear ya. This is fucking insanity.

BTW I knew you'd be the first to reply.
 

MrAbovePar

En Taro Anthony
Mar 14, 2005
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#4
Hitting the dogs with the rake provoked the attack. Case closed. They were barking as a warning. Engaging them further rather than retreating provoked an attack.

Funny, in New Jersey and most states, when you're under risk of attack, you have to retreat from the situation even if you're in your own home.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
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#5
im getting predictable. ive also decided that im going a little nutty
 

Ballbuster1

In The Danger Zone...
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That's total b/s. My old dog would have torn anyone to shreads if
they stepped on my property or went after my wife or I.
That's what a good dog does.
 

Sct Ptersns Twn

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Dec 4, 2005
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#7
This enrages me to no extent. Jesus Christ, when in the FUCK are we the people going to take this fucking country back? The canines in question did absolutely nothing wrong.
 

BCH

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Sorry but too bad, If your dog is so bad assed that I can't exit my vehicle until it's been sequestered away for safety then your dog is dangerous. A mauling like this should always result in the destruction of the animal case closed. The dog wasn't protecting his family from anything except having their leaves raked. If your big dangerous dog is stupid enough to perceive that as a threat then he should be CONSTANTLY LEASHED OR CHAINED PERIOD!
 

d0uche_n0zzle

**Negative_Creep**
Sep 15, 2004
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#9
The only thing the illegal should have gotten was a one-way ticket home.

The dogs did nothing wrong, except protect their's.

Why wasn't the illegal charged with criminal assault on the woman for pushing her down, was he trying to sexual assault her?
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
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#10
i blame the insurance company for settling, and the judge for having no balls
 

Sct Ptersns Twn

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Dec 4, 2005
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#11
Sorry but too bad, If your dog's so bad assed that I can't exit my vehicle until it's been sequestered away for safety then your dog is dangerous.
Wrong. Not in this day and age. I don't trust anyone that I don't know on my property. That is what dogs are for, protection and loyalty go hand in hand.
 

Sct Ptersns Twn

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Dec 4, 2005
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#12
Rivera, a Trenton man, was on the 10-acre, fenced property on Stuart Road to do yard work. The landscaping crew had arrived before 7 a.m., about an hour before they were expected.
Nough said. I used to deliver newspapers as a kid and Medical supplies as an adult. When I hear barking I stop, and assess the situation.
 

Ballbuster1

In The Danger Zone...
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Aug 26, 2002
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#13
If you were invited into my house the dog was fine. He just never
let people approach me or the wife if they weren't expected.
That didn't make him dangerous just a good watchdog.
That's what he was and I liked that. My new dog is a pussy.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
42,988
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#14
Sorry but too bad, If your dog's so bad assed that I can't exit my vehicle until it's been sequestered away for safety then your dog is dangerous.
did ya read the article? the savage attacked the puppies with a rake, then assaulted the wife, the dog acted as trained, i wouldn't consider that "bad ass" and the property is fenced, they were told to remain in the car, maybe the guy didnt want a couple of mexicans wandering around his property un escorted. even though they were invited on to the property they were told not to exit the vehicle
i think your going to too many tea partys, you need to go out bird hunting :action-sm
 

BCH

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#15
Just read the part about the guy pushing the woman down :/

did he think he was protecting her from the dogs? He was there to rake leaves, why would he assault her?
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
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#17
damn BCH did you feel a that ton of bricks hit ya :)
 

BCH

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#18
Yeah, the whole pushing the woman down part sounds sketchy... Maybe the family made that part up? At this point, Mr. Rivera is not a part of the proceedings and could not dispute such a claim. Sounds to me like they just want their stupid dog to stay alive.
 

seeinred

White Death
Apr 29, 2007
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#19
I don't get it... If a landscaper attacked me or my progeny with a rake, and I punched him, would I get in trouble for that? Why is it any different for this dog?
 

striker

Why yes, I am an asshole, so what?
Mar 10, 2005
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#20
Sorry but too bad, If your dog is so bad assed that I can't exit my vehicle until it's been sequestered away for safety then your dog is dangerous. A mauling like this should always result in the destruction of the animal case closed. The dog wasn't protecting his family from anything except having their leaves raked. If your big dangerous dog is stupid enough to perceive that as a threat then he should be CONSTANTLY LEASHED OR CHAINED PERIOD!
Guess BCH would consider my fathers 9lb Yorkie a vicious dog that should be destroyed. If he doesn't know you, and you get too close to my father, the little fucker will lung and attack. I have seen him try to lunge out of my fathers arms.

Any dog will attack to defend it'self and it's property. My dog considers the house, my wife and I, and our vehicles her property. Though she is only a 29lb Spanial mix, when she get's riled enough, she will try to drag me down to go after someone. When she is in the car, even if I'm within her viewing range, I don't let people pet her because they are invading her space, I tell them to wait until she is out of the vehicle.
 

Ballbuster1

In The Danger Zone...
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Aug 26, 2002
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#21
It all goes back to the "pack mentality" of dogs.
They will defend the Alpha male and those above him at all costs.
This is just the nature of dogs and more people need to understand it.
 

BCH

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#22
Maybe fez is right. Maybe I need to kill some birds. Good thing I'm going this month.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
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#23
either that or go shoot some rats
 

Sinn Fein

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#24
Sorry but too bad, If your dog is so bad assed that I can't exit my vehicle until it's been sequestered away for safety then your dog is dangerous. A mauling like this should always result in the destruction of the animal case closed. The dog wasn't protecting his family from anything except having their leaves raked. If your big dangerous dog is stupid enough to perceive that as a threat then he should be CONSTANTLY LEASHED OR CHAINED PERIOD!
Did you read any of the details of the incident? They showed up an hour early and then were specifically told to wait out front and not to go into the family's FENCED BACKYARD until they could bring the dogs into the house, because the dogs were all back there being fed. The one wetback hit one of the puppies with a rake, and the faggit ass landscaper tried to hide behind the guy's wife and pulled her to the ground. That's when the dog went after him. I don't know what your're talking about in terms of not being able to exit the vehicle. If a stranger comes into my FENCED BACKYARD when my dogs are out there, they deserve whatever happens to them. I have warning signs posted on the gates.
 
Jul 13, 2006
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#25
But some, including municipal prosecutor Kim Otis, argue that the Jameses should have had control over the dogs and were negligent.
The family was negligent? Because they had the dogs locked up properly in their backyard? Because they told the fucking mexican to NOT go into the back yard? Was the family negligent because the mexican took it upon himself to start hitting a dog with a metal rake?

The mexican should have listened and NOT hit the dog with a fucking rake. I'd say the mexican owes the family money for hitting their dog, not the other way around.

Give the family their damn dog back you fucking douche bags.